Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Quote of the day

I was surprised, I said during our interview, that someone whose entire life constituted a triumph over adversity would join the campaign to insure against précarité. . . . Royal countered my observation with a familiar refrain: "The problem is that everybody isn't subject to insecurity. Do you see businessmen being fired for incompetence? The young see politicians, who also have a stable and secure job, being civil servants, lecturing others on insecurity. So the young graduate will say, 'In the name of what am I going to sign an insecure contract?' "

Then the conversation took an odd turn. Royal asked me, with the air of someone pulling out a trump card, "Are you in an insecure situation?" Actually, I explained, as a contract writer for this magazine, I have little security.

Royal wasn't going to be put off the scent that easily. "Yes, but how many years does your contract last?"

"I sign a new one every year."

Now she was frankly incredulous. "You could be fired every year?" For all her own experience, Royal apparently viewed précarité as a kind of socioeconomic stigma rather than the price you might choose to pay for freedom.

- James Traub, writing in NYT Magazine

Thanks to Dynamist for the link to Traub in her post, The French Disease; read the whole thing.

Some firms sell job security voluntarily, because that's what workers want. I don't buy it. Try précarité; you just might find you get what you want. Unless you're really into stultification.

But if you try sometimes
you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need

1 Comments:

Blogger nzm said...

Very timely - thanks!

Going through a time when I really needed to read that.

8:49 PM  

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